People are waking up to reality.
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Lady Deech, a crossbencher given a life peerage by Tony Blair in 2005, said: ‘The notion that a wife should get half of the joint assets of a couple after even a short, childless marriage has crept up on us without any parliamentary legislation to this effect.’
She added: ‘It is no wonder that England is the divorce capital of Europe and out of step with other European countries.’
Women who expect equality at work should not suddenly be treated as kept women when they divorce, she said in a public lecture at Gresham College, an independent educational institution in London.
Lady Deech said the law should be reformed to discourage ‘quickie’ divorces.
‘It is far more difficult to terminate those other pillars of a stable life, employment and a tenancy, than marriage.’ She added: ‘It seems to be an unspoken political decision that attempts to make divorce more difficult are totally unacceptable.
‘Any other situation that is known to harm children, sometimes not nearly as much – for example school food or paedophilia – attracts legislation and extensive public campaigns without dissent.
‘But even when public debate focuses on the plight of single parents and their children, the fact that over half of them are created by divorce and separation is overlooked.
‘It is astonishing that no government seriously considers divorce as an issue while expressing anxiety about single parents, their children and society’s health.’